Duncan Imperial versus Butterfly: Which is better? (A Buyer’s Guide)


You’re looking into getting a new yoyo, but which one is best? Let’s take a look at the Duncan Imperial versus the Butterfly!

The Duncan Imperial and Duncan Butterfly yoyo are both entry-level yoyos. They are mainly intended for practicing on and learning basic tricks. They’re also priced similarly which means it’s often hard to discern which pick is the best for your needs.

Thankfully, we’re here to enlighten you to which you should go for! Let us take a look at features that make them stand out apart from each other.

Are there any differences between yoyos to look out for?

The main difference between yoyos is often in the mechanics of how they operate.

For example, some yoyos are responsive, some are unresponsive, and some are “classic” yoyos without any specific mechanics to influence them.

The cheapest yoyos are often classic yoyos that simply operate from throwing them up and down. Whereas, unresponsive and responsive yoyos are a little more expensive because they have ball-bearing systems to influence how they work.

Most importantly, the Duncan Imperial and Duncan Butterfly are classic yoyos. This means they don’t have any ball-bearing systems to influence the mechanics of how they work.

A Closer Look: Duncan Imperial versus Duncan Butterfly (Which To Buy)

Duncan Imperial Overview

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  • 2 x 2 x 2″
  • 2.11 ounces (59g)
  • Narrow Design
  • Durable Plastic

Our Thoughts

The Duncan Imperial is the quintessential classic yoyo and has a design to match those expectations too!

It has a classic narrow design, a rounded body, and comes in a wide variety of colors depending on your preferences.

Most people of the older generations grew up with this narrow design and are probably more familiar with how it responds. However, most yoyos have evolved since then! Typically they have adopted a wide-body design for ease of use, i.e. catching the string.

For this reason, not unless you want to relive past experiences, we think that wide-bodied designs are more suitable for beginners. Therefore, would generally vote against going for the Imperial and would choose the Butterfly instead.

In terms of other specifics, it’s about the same weight as the Duncan Butterfly which generally means they won’t feel too dissimilar when being played with. However, the disposition of the weight can play into it a little (this is a personal preference).

Lastly, it features a durable plastic material body meaning it will be able to take a few knocks without breaking as you would expect with most modern yoyo designs.

Duncan Butterfly Overview

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  • 2.2″ (Diameter) x 1.45″ (Width)
  • 2.11 ounces (59g)
  • Wide Design
  • Durable Plastic

Our Thoughts

The Duncan Butterfly is like the younger, more modern brother of the Imperial. That is because it incorporates a modern wide-bodied design that makes practicing on it a joy and much easier than older narrow designs.

Similar to the Imperial, it comes in a range of colors meaning you can pick something you prefer to suit your style.

It also comes with the same durable plastic design meaning it can take a few knocks, which is especially likely to happen if you’re new to yo-yoing.

In fact, most of the features between the Duncan Imperial and Duncan Butterfly are very similar, even down to the weight, however, the design of the body is going to be the main reason for why you would go for the butterfly over the imperial.

It’s wider, and in terms of dimensions, is actually bigger in general too.

This extra room and width mean catching your string for certain tricks becomes much easier compared to a narrow yoyo design like the imperial.

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Summary & Conclusion

Overall, the Duncan Butterfly is a much better yoyo for beginners and that’s because it features a wide-body. Which also means it’s easier to perform tricks with!

In fact, this seems to be the main difference between the two as they’re very closely linked in terms of weight and materials used.

With that said, for nostalgic purposes, it can still be enjoyable to play with the Imperial too. It may even be more suitable for some specific tricks if you know what you’re looking for.

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